Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Human Embryonic Stem Cell Study Approved

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the new-things-to-argue-about dept.

Biotech 139

dogmatixpsych writes "The FDA recently approved a privately funded study where human embryonic stem cells will be transplanted into subjects with complete spinal cord injuries. All trials will be paid for and conducted by researchers working for Geron Corporation. The stem cells come from the existing lines Pres. Bush approved federal funding for in August 2001. With Barack Obama now president, many scientists believe federal funding will soon become available for embryonic stem cell research on new cell lines, resulting in additional similar studies."

cancel ×

139 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26578781)

Now I can grow and graft onto myself a large negro penis to impress the ladies!

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579365)

No you couldn't, you will just have to keep getting your penis the old way, in your ass.

Yay Obama! (2, Funny)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578829)

Good move! I say Obama should be given a raise, free beer, moderations at +5, and infinite karma!

Re:Yay Obama! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579283)

The question I have for Obama is this: Who is stimulating the economy? The white man who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single fat colored mammy sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Yours in Christ,
Hal Turner

Re:Yay Obama! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579473)

No more Karma, lest he explode.

Re:Yay Obama! (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579759)

Why, Obama didn't do anything specific on this. The ban on stem cell research was always dealing with public finds. This article, even in the summery, says that it is being privately funded.

Also, the timing is just too close to Obama's term to be something he has done. The FDA requires some pretty stringent studies and tests before it will allow something to be tested on humans. The request to the FDA for approval for the trials/stufy was probably filed months ago with tests and stuff being done years before that. It's been less then a week since Obama took office and I doubt that is enough time to submit, review, qualify and approve something with the FDA.

If you need to cheer something, cheer private industry that didn't sit around waiting for the government to hand them money to get what they wanted to do done. Hurray for capitalism and private charity.

Re:Yay Obama! (2)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579787)

Whoosh

Food nor Drug (3, Interesting)

planckscale (579258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578869)

Would stem cell therapy be considered drug therapy? I wonder why the FDA provides approval? Is that the only government agency that enforces this type of research? Me thinks it's great that this "work toward curing disease such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes." is finally getting the approval it deserves.

Re:Food nor Drug (4, Informative)

Retric (704075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579085)

The FDA also approves medical devices like pacemakers. While the name might not cover such things the agency covers a lot of ground.

Re:Food nor Drug (1)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579111)

Would stem cell therapy be considered drug therapy?

Why wouldn't it? I would imagine it falls under the same general FDA guidelines as other biological agents, like deactivated virus vaccines.

Re:Food nor Drug (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579187)

ah hah, I see, like botox and other bacterial medicines. Yes that makes sense now. thanks!

Re:Food nor Drug (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579375)

Me thinks it's great that this "work toward curing disease such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes." is finally getting the approval it deserves.

It should be noted that, since this study is privately funded, it could have been done at any time during the Bush or Clinton Presidencies.

It should be further noted that, since this study uses one of the "approved" stem cell lines, it could have acquired Federal funding during the Bush Presidency (but not during the Clinton Presidency, since when Clinton was President NO stem cell research was getting Federal funding).

In other words, this particular study provides no evidence whatsoever that anything has changed in any way, however slight.

Re:Food nor Drug (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579747)

The reason it is only now getting "the approval it deserves" is because this is the first study of embryonic stem cell that has shown any promise.

Re:Food nor Drug (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579979)

Not the Drug part... the food part.

Embryos are babies - babies are food - therefore it falls under the FDA

Re:Food nor Drug (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580763)

I thought meat was under the department of agriculture.

About time (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26578871)

Thanks Bush for making it so life-saving treatment research got delayed so much. You stupid fuck.

Re:About time (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579101)

"The stem cells come from the existing lines Pres. Bush approved federal funding for in August 2001."

I am sorry, what the fuck were you saying you ignorant cunt? The Bush is bad montra is SO boring. And false, apparently.

Re:About time (3, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579183)

"Thanks Bush for making it so life-saving treatment research got delayed so much. You stupid fuck."

Fuck Yeah! Because we KNOW it will work, and we KNOW that the existing lines are useless, and we KNOW that the only thing stopping the miracle cures was lack of Federal funding, and we KNOW there won't be side affects, and we KNOW that adult stem cell research will amount to nothing.

Re:About time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579981)

Ugh.

It requires a lot of time and money to find another way to do something we already know how to do. So whether adult stem cells will amount to something or not, we spent several years doing very little else.

However long it takes for the treatments to come to market, wouldn't it have been a lot nicer for them to come to market five years earlier?

Re:About time (2, Insightful)

BigDukeSix (832501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580147)

Amen.

There is a common belief that embryonic stem cells, because they have the potential to differentiate into any cell line instead of just one or two, are somehow "better" than the other myriad types of cells. This ignores the fact that it's much harder to stop ESCs from continuing to differentiate, which is why you get tumors at an alarming rate.

This is in turn rooted in another common incorrect notion, namely that stem cells repair injury by differentiating into new cells and tissue. The first decade of research in this field has largely disproved this notion. Instead, stem cells seem to alter the host response to injury, such that normal repair mechanisms function much more effectively. Stem cells tend to get stuck in the lungs when given intravenously, but still result in improved repair at remote sites; conversely, after direct injection of cells into a site of injury, most of those cells are someplace else in the body after 24 hours.

This is why the Geron trial is limited to spinal cord injuries that are less than two weeks old. Once scar formation has occurred, this therapeutic target is gone, and there is currently no notion of how to truly "reconstruct" a spinal cord in a long-standing paraplegic patient.

Gotta love the FDA (3, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578875)

Gotta love the FDA. How long has this technology been around before they finally approved the first human tests of it? Did you know that if current FDA regulations had been in place at the time, neither penicillin nor aspirin would have ever been approved for human use?

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26578927)

[[citation needed]]

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1, Informative)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579053)

Chapter six [ruwart.com] of Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579027)

Did you know that if current FDA regulations had been in place at the time, neither penicillin nor aspirin would have ever been approved for human use?

Ummm... They may be slow and crappy, but ever? Methinks you may exaggerate...

Re:Gotta love the FDA (3, Informative)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579103)

Not at all. I posted the full source above, but I'll excerpt the important part to demonstrate my point: "Aspirin deforms the unborn young of almost every animal species but humans and could not be marketed today if it had to go through FDA evaluations." In other words, its beneficial effects never would have been demonstrated because it would have been rejected before it even made it to human trials.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (3, Informative)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579201)

Actually, they still advise against taking Aspirin while pregnant. Pretty much all my wife was allowed to take was Tylenol for her first trimester migraines. I bet Aspirin could have past those trials with warnings not to consume while pregnant or possible pregnant being the outcome.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (3, Informative)

Phortune (1455837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580665)

In fairness, aspirin is fairly hazardous for quite a few people because of, among other things, its blood thinning properties (e.g. bad for anyone on warfarin or other anti-coagulants); as well as for people with stomach ulcers, because of the irritation it can cause. There are so many other pain-killers available now, that are comparatively safe, that aspirin's use for its analgesic properties has all but died out in my country (UK). Like gad_zuki! said before me, lots of drugs are prohibited during pregnancy for myriad reasons. There are usually plenty of alternatives and the benefits seldom outweigh the risks for pregnant mothers.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (2, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580801)

IANA physician or pharmacist, so this isn't qualified medical advice. Do research from better sources than Slashdot when health is concerned. This is just a tip to a couple of those sources.

They actually recommend against aspirin as a
fever reducer in children under the age of about 16, too. Reye's syndrome is a rare but dangerous sickness that can be triggered in victims of the chicken pox or flu viruses when given aspirin.

Any viral infection, particularly one in which the first symptom is fever, should not be treated with aspirin. This is true according to the NIH even in adults, but I've always heard it was especially true for children.

See the pages about Reye's at MedicineNet [medterms.com] , WebMD [webmd.com] , or the US National Institutes of Health [nih.gov] or ask your doctor for more info.

Aspirin also has other contraindications, but it has many positive uses as a medicine. Very little in life is without drawbacks, unfortunately.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579443)

Aspirin isnt Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, etc. Only real Aspirin is disallowed during pregnancy. Lots of drugs are disallowed during pregnancy. The idea that this would lead to a complete ban is ridiculous.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580725)

Only real Aspirin is disallowed during pregnancy

Are you sure about that? It is my understanding all Aspirin commonly purchased is actually synthetically manufactured Aspirin. I'm not sure you can still get "real" Aspirin. Real Aspirin comes from the bark of a white willow tree where use of the bark dates at least as far back as the Romans.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579147)

Or, it could be that the technology just wasn't ready yet? Christopher Reeve, may he rest in peace, did medical research a tremendous disservice by giving the impression that stem cell research could allow him to walk again. In the popular culture, this got translated to "Bush killed Superman!!!". But it takes years for ANY therapeutic treatment to get approval for human trials, even the most minor of drugs.

Oh, and remember Thalidomide?

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579255)

But it takes years for ANY therapeutic treatment to get approval for human trials, even the most minor of drugs.

That... was my point. How many people are dying because the government wants to keep people safe? I guess dying of natural causes because of the nonexistence of a cure is better than dying from a drug prematurely brought to market...

Oh, and remember Thalidomide?

Hey, that book chapter I posted above even has a section about this: It's called, "The Illusion of Protection: Thalidomide."

Re:Gotta love the FDA (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579507)

That... was my point. How many people are dying because the government wants to keep people safe? I guess dying of natural causes because of the nonexistence of a cure is better than dying from a drug prematurely brought to market...

It has nothing to do with what's logical; it has to with what people WANT. Congress didn't make up the regulation from thin air; their constituents were screaming for it. Were their constituents easily panicked lemmings? Yup. But you'll never convince the populace that they are wrong using logic. It's not fair, but it is reality.

Hey, that book chapter I posted above even has a section about this: It's called, "The Illusion of Protection: Thalidomide."

I read the Thalidomide parts and skimmed some of the other paragraphs, and she kept talking about "agression". So I clicked on the book cover. Here's an exertp of the blurb on the flyleaf:

Dr. Ruwart shows us how to transcend these win-lose scenarios by systematically applying the win-win tactics to our social interaction that have proves so successful in our personal lives. HEALING OUR WORLD is the first book to integrate the common elements of our Judeo-Christian heritage, the personal self-responsibility of the Aquarian Age, and the political self-responsibility of the worldwide libertarian movement. "The Easy Way Out" os the realization that others do not create our global harmony and abundance any more than they create our inner peace and enrichment; our reactions to others determine our fate.

So, libertarian views on government, Judeo-Christian view on morality, and "Aquarian Age" views on personal responsibility. Sorry, I don't generally take advise from schizophrenics.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579941)

I read the Thalidomide parts and skimmed some of the other paragraphs, and she kept talking about "agression". So I clicked on the book cover. Here's an exertp of the blurb on the flyleaf:

I know what the book is about; I've actually read the whole book.

Dr. Ruwart shows us how to transcend these win-lose scenarios by systematically applying the win-win tactics to our social interaction that have proves so successful in our personal lives. HEALING OUR WORLD is the first book to integrate the common elements of our Judeo-Christian heritage, the personal self-responsibility of the Aquarian Age, and the political self-responsibility of the worldwide libertarian movement. "The Easy Way Out" os the realization that others do not create our global harmony and abundance any more than they create our inner peace and enrichment; our reactions to others determine our fate.

So, libertarian views on government, Judeo-Christian view on morality, and "Aquarian Age" views on personal responsibility. Sorry, I don't generally take advise from schizophrenics.

Riiight... Well, when you're ready to act like an adult instead jamming your fingers in your ears because you're hearing something that challenges your current world view, we can continue this debate. :)

In the meantime, if you want to understand what the big deal with "aggression" is, feel free to read "The Gun in the Room" [lewrockwell.com] by Stefan Molyneux. Of course, if you'd like to just dismiss that guy out of hand, too, some people think he's the leader of some sort of cult [google.com] , so feel free to just point to that and ignore the substance of the essay.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580235)

Gotta love the FDA. How long has this technology been around before they finally approved the first human tests of it? Did you know that if current FDA regulations had been in place at the time, neither penicillin nor aspirin would have ever been approved for human use?

The FDA also prevented Thalidomide from being sold wholesale in the country before the effects of it were known. Not the case in europe, as a result there were a lot of ugly birth defects.

Regulation is not going to be perfect ever, as we all learned in junior high, and have learned continuously since then. Still, I'd rather have an overly cautious and slow moving bureacracy investigating medicines and treatments than just hoping big pharmecuticals listen to their conscience. Mostly because they have none. Oversight is definitely needed.

Re:Gotta love the FDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26580609)

Maybe that would have been a good thing. I get a severe allergic reaction to aspirin.

Political BS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26578901)

"With Barack Obama now president, many scientists believe federal funding will soon become available for embryonic stem cell research on new cell lines, resulting in additional similar studies."

Is there a way to stop with the political jabs and bullshit that has been floating around /. for the past few days? It's annoying.

Re:Political BS (2, Insightful)

Ninnle Linux (1460113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578951)

What exactly is BS in what you quoted? Are you disputing the well-known fact that Bush disallowed funding for new stem cell lines beyond those already established? Or are you disputing the claim that many scientists believe that with the new administration that this will be changed? You're going to have a hard time claiming either as BS.

Re:Political BS (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579071)

Bush disallowed GOVERNMENT funding of new cell lines, not private funding. If embryonic stem cells were the miracle cure that people have been claiming, you'd think there'd be plenty of private money for it.

Re:Political BS (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579257)

But the statement the AC originally claimed was a 'bullshit political jab' explicitly referred to federal funding. So, like the GP, I have to ask how exactly is it bullshit to say that scientists expect the Obama administration to release federal funding for new cell lines? Is that such an outlandish assertion? I'm genuinely curious.

Re:Political BS (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579623)

The OP didn't say "bullshit political jab", he said "political jabs and bullshit". This implies that the political jabs are the part he's most irritated at, and the bullshit that goes with them. And I agree with him. Slashdot seems to have a pattern where EVERY topic has Bush's name invoked. Why?

I once asked what those posters were going to do once Obama took office. Apparently, the answer was that Bush will remain the bogeyman until the next republican president.

Re:Political BS (2, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580267)

Bush disallowed GOVERNMENT funding of new cell lines, not private funding.

Bush actually disallowed any lab which receives government funding from doing research with new stem cell lines. That effectively meant that private funding didn't just have to pay for the research, but BUILDING AN IDENTICAL LAB for any university or organization that had a single government research grant.

Re:Political BS (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579235)

"Is there a way to stop with the political jabs and bullshit that has been floating around /. for the past few days? It's annoying."

You ARE aware this is Slashdot, right?

Re:Political BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579767)

It's like the lament that MTV doesn't play music videos anymore....political activists have turned digg and, to a lesser degree, slashdot into their soap boxes. And they'll never be the same again.

Non-Story (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579381)

The embryonic stem cell research ban was just on FEDERAL funding of such research when using non-approved embryonic stem cell lines. This story is about privately funded research using approved stem cell lines, and so doesn't conflict with the Bush administration ban, or have anything to do with the change in administrations.
    So ya, it's a cheap shot.

Re:Political BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579655)

You must be new here.

Another big corporate handout in the making. (0, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578923)

At least we can safely say that Democrats have no problem with corporate welfare either. Yep, all of these embryonic stem cells are miracle cures, but, god forbid, every biotech company feels the need to pony up to Washington so Obama can pay for the research.

Man, there's been a law that said that private companies can't do their own stem cell research, its only been federal funding. And if these stem cells require so much federal funding to research, just how great can they really be? I would think a farsighted company would invest in this stuff on its own merit. I mean, if Microsoft can blow $100 million in 199x dollars to make Bob and Clippy, don't you think a big pharma company could fund a drug based on stem cells that might make people walk again? Geez, I would think the demand justifies the research. But oh no, scientists and the suits they work for are too lazy to even take that risk, and its taxpayers on the hook for that too.

It's bad enough that universities are already allowed to patent research that taxpayers pay for, which is pretty much bullshit. Now, we have to pay these people to research something that they will patent so that they can turn around and charge us millions of dollars for a drug we've already paid for. What a bunch of crooks. Burn Harvard down!

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (1)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579121)

What? Why me? I'm broke!

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579205)

At least we can safely say that Democrats have no problem with corporate welfare either. Yep, all of these embryonic stem cells are miracle cures, but, god forbid, every biotech company feels the need to pony up to Washington so Obama can pay for the research.

Right and like 10 TRILLION in bailouts thanks to REPUBLICAN screwups isn't corporate welfare? At least R&D funding has a decent chance to make our lives better. The bailouts are just going to office redecoration, golf trips, spa trips and fat bonuses.

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (5, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579513)

The REPUBLICANS weren't behind the "affordable housing mission". Democrats blocked regulation in 2004, attacking the regulator, and defeated the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, cosponsored by John McCain. Democrats like Barney Frank cried racism whenever the republicans suggested regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and had control of the house financial services committee which oversees the GSEs.

"I worry, frankly, that there's a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a
threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disastrous scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn't bail them out . But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing."

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.)
House Financial Services Committee hearing
Sept. 10, 2003

"I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They're not the best investments these days from the long- term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward. They're in a housing market. I do think their prospects going forward are very solid. And in fact, we're going to do some things that are going to improve them."

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.)
July 14, 2008

"I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation."

John McCain
May 26, 2006

Here are some additional quotes from the Fannie/Freddie Fraud Investigation in 2004

BAKER (R-LA): It is indeed a very troubling report, but it is a report of extraordinary importance not only to those who wish to own a home, but as to the taxpayers of this country who would pay the cost of the clean up of an enterprise failure.

WATERS (D-CA): Through nearly a dozen hearings where, frankly, we were trying to fix something that wasn't broke, Mr. Chairman, we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and particularly at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines.

MEEKS (D-NY): As well as the fact that I'm just pissed off at OFHEO, because if it wasn't for you, I don't think that we'd be here in the first place, and now the problem that we have and that we're faced with is: maybe some individuals who wanted to do away with GSEs in the first place, you've given them an excuse to try to have this forum so that we can talk about it and maybe change the, uh, the direction and the mission of what the GSEs had, which they've done a tremendous job. There's been nothing that was indicated that's wrong, you know, with Fannie Mae! Freddie Mac has come up on its own. And the question that then presents is the competence that -- that -- that -- that your agency uh, uh, with reference to, uh, uh, deciding and regulating these GSEs. Uh, and so, uh, I wish I could sit here and say that I'm not upset with you, but I am very upset because, you know, what you do is give -- you know, maybe giving any reason to, as Mr. Gonzales said, to give someone a heart surgery when they really don't need it.

ROYCE (R-CA): In addition to our important oversight role in this committee, I hope that we will move swiftly to create a new regulatory structure for Fannie Mae, for Freddie Mac, and the federal home loan banks.

CLAY (D-MO): This hearing is about the political lynching of Franklin Raines.

FALCON (OFHEO Regular to MEEKS (D-NY)): Sir, Congressman, OFHEO did not improperly apply accounting rules. Freddie Mac did. OFHEO did not fail to manage earnings properly. Freddie Mac did. So this isn't about the agency engaging in improper conduct. It's about Freddie Mac.

SHAYS (R-CT): Fannie Mae has manipulated, in my judgment, OFHEO for years -- and for OFHEO to finally come out with a report as strong as it is, tells me that's got to be the minimum, not the maximum.

FRANK (D-MA): ...etcetera. Uh, I -- This -- You -- you -- you seem to me saying, "Well, these are areas which could raise safety and soundness problems." I don't see anything in your report that raises safety and soundness problems.

WATERS (D-CA): Under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines, everything in the 1992 has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs have exceeded their housing goals. What we need to do today is to focus on the regulator, and this must be done in a manner so as not to impede their affordable housing mission, a mission that has seen innovation flourish from desktop underwriting to 100% loans.

MANZULLO (R-IL): Mr. Raines, 1.1 million bonus and a $526,000 salary. Jamie Gorelick, $779,000 bonus on a salary of 567,000. This is -- what you state on page 11 is nothing less than -- than staggering. The 1998 earnings per share number turned out to be $3.23 and 9.mills, a result that Fannie Mae met the EPS maximum payout goal right down to the penny. Fannie Mae understood the rules and simply chose not to follow them. If Fannie Mae had followed the practices, there wouldn't have been a bonus that year.

RAINES: Because banks don't -- there aren't any banks who only have multifamily and single-family loans. These assets are so riskless that their capital for holding them should be under 2%.

CLINTON: The responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (1)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579815)

Very appropriate and good response. Wish I had mod points for you.

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (3, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580057)

I'd mod you if I had the points, but this will have to do. I have found it hilarious how many people blame Bush for the problems with our economy (blame him for the mistakes in Iraq, that's legit) when in fact the Democrats, going all the way back to Clinton, are the ones who have put us in this mess.

I will blame the Republican majority in the House and Senate in the 90's and early this decade for not doing something about it, although admittedly they did try a few times to fix it (McCain among others). However, apparently they didn't try hard enough. People talk of wanting Bush to get tried for war crimes, but in my opinion it's people like Barnie Frank who should be impeached or recalled for willful disregard when it comes to oversight of the housing market, chiefly as it concerns Fannie and Freddie.

It has been made crystal clear that the stimulus package, while having saved the credit industry from collapse, did little good other than to keep the majority of major banks from folding. Lending has not increased but instead continues to retract, and there is no evidence that supports the big three auto makers avoiding collapse as well (other than possibly Ford, assuming their sales recover). The handling of the economy and in particular spending has been an absolute joke over the past 4 years, and while people would love nothing better than to blame Bush, who submits yearly budgets, it is Congress, who approves the budget, who should really be at the forefront of blame. Republicans lost their mandate due to the handling of the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, most voters are too dumb to realize that the other party, the Democrats, were as clueless on the housing and credit crisis as the Republicans were on fighting a lengthy conflict in the middle east. If we only had more people who cared about the economy and the government's incompetency in managing it's duties, both parties would've been ejected from office and we'd have gotten a few more forward lookers in Washington. Too bad that'll never happen in my lifetime.

How ironic is it that Iraq eventually turned around, whereas we're just beginning to really see the seams crack in our economy?

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579361)

As someone who works in biological research I sort of agree with you. Not that we shouldn't be funding scientific research, but no one should be able to patent research done with public money. I like the NIH rule that any federally funded research must be published in an open access journal. I would argue for another rule, that any patents from federally funded research must be licensed freely, if granted at all.

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (2, Interesting)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580107)

I think patenting work done with public money is okay, as long as, like you said, the patent is licensed freely. This protects the work of the scientists, doctors, etc, as it pertains to credit for their work, but at the same time doesn't allow them to derive obscene profits off of public money.

Re:Another big corporate handout in the making. (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580473)

I get demonizes when people find out that I supported the stem cell ban for public money for those very same reasons.

We through millions and more every year at medical research with public funds and the cure you need still costs more then you can afford because they do this. I'm convinced if all research that used public money was open and free, we would have affordable healthcare and wouldn't need to throw it around every 4 years.

More funding? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578935)

many scientists believe federal funding will soon become available for embryonic stem cell research on new cell lines, resulting in additional similar studies.

Sounds great, but, ummm, aren't we already broke?

Re:More funding? (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579113)

Up to now this company has been funding the research privately. This merely allows them to proceed to human trials, it doesn't give them federal funding to do so.

Re:More funding? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579463)

That may be true, but that's not what I was quoting.

Re:More funding? (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580037)

Oh, missed the quote. I would presume that they will try to transfer existing funds for current stem cell research to new programs whenever possible. Current stem cell research only funds programs using the old embryonic stem cell lines and other non-embryonic stem cells (like mutants formed from skin cells).

I would expect an increase in funding too, but it probably would be rather small compared to the spending on infrastructure and other programs.

Re:More funding? (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579773)

That is why we need change, Cause damn we are broke and can use every quarter, nickle, and dime we can get. All we can do is hope that someone will give us this change so that science will bring us hope in the future of change. --just see how many times you can use the words hope and change in a sentence.

Re:More funding? (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580125)

Not if China has anything to say about it!

Note the distinction (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579067)

It seems many people don't notice that "embryonic stem cell research" is different from "stem cell research." Research has been done on cures involving adult stem cells (e.g., the patients' own) already. I believe this particular ban was on embryonic stem cell research, presumably for abortion/anti-abortion reasons.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the use of human embryos in this example, there is a distinction that needs to be realized. Adult stem cell research has been going on, IIRC, and has had success already, but people rarely talk about it. Most people, if asked whether or not "stem cell research" was legal, automatically seem to think about embryonic stem cell research and say "no." There seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for it, even though it's been proven to help.

On a more political note, IMO, it is strange for someone to support the usage of human embryos when he refuses to answer when he thinks human life begins? In that case, he is not sure that these human embryos are NOT "real humans," which is an interesting ethical/moral position to be in)

Re:Note the distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579237)

Refusing to answer is not the same thing as being not sure.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579321)

Yeah, but is not refusing to not answer not the same thing as not being not sure?

Re:Note the distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579455)

Giving an answer might not represent how he really feels, although we can suppose that it would. Not answering could just as well mean that he doesn't want to make his personal opinion public for whatever reason.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580153)

If he had answered, it's doubtful he would've been elected. Whether you personally agree or disagree with abortions and the use of embryonic stem cells for research, the majority of the country does not, and this spans all ethnic groups. Obama was pretty clever at picking and choosing which questions to avoid in order to maintain his momentum.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579303)

Embryonic stem cell research is legal, and always has been.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579421)

Ok, I'll bite. I believe that human life begins with human consciousness and thought. Since a blastocyst consists of less than 100 undifferentiated cells I don't believe that it is possible for it to meet my definition of human life.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579561)

That wasn't the point though. The point isn't what we think; the point is what the people think that are making it legal/supporting it. It seems to be an unstable moral/ethical position if you aren't sure if it's a human life but willing to use them anyways

Re:Note the distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26580193)

But there are so many different articles of faith you can't completely disprove, yet adopting them would give us a very bizarre morality.

Is that ant the reincarnation of George Washington? Can we morally kill ants if we're not sure whether they contain human souls? Should we be cautious and ban all insecticides?

The most reasonable thing to say is that we don't have any reason to believe that insects and embryos have human rights, and that it doesn't make sense to grant them rights at the expense of our personal freedoms. We're nearly all willing to take the risk that the fly we just swatted was dear old granny. Likewise, the embryonic stem cells we use may be living human individuals. I know I won't be losing any sleep over either possibility.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579619)

I believe that human life begins with human consciousness and thought.

I've met people with driver's licenses that don't meet that definition (before and after drinking). On the other hand, should I even need a kidney, it's a definition I might just like.

Re:Note the distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579709)

I agree with you although that isn't the important question with the way the laws are now.

Currently embryos are produced for couples that have a hard time getting pregnant. The question resolves around what we should do with these. Throw them away or allow them to be used for research.

I would argue that using them for research is better than discarding them. I propose that it should be illegal to make extra embryos when helping a couple have a child. That would prevent embryos from being used for research AND being discarded.

But I do think embryos should be used for research but we shouldn't make them just for research. So I would be against making a law to limit embryo creations for new babies.

I can understand why people don't want them to be used for research but I don't understand how its any worse than discarding them. I know people say "playing god" but I don't think that is a reasonable answer considering we are already "playing god" by artificial insemination.

Basically I think researching unused embryos is better than discarding them.

Re:Note the distinction (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579827)

Ok, I'll bite. I believe that human life begins with human consciousness and thought. Since a blastocyst consists of less than 100 undifferentiated cells I don't believe that it is possible for it to meet my definition of human life.

So you believe human life == consciousness AND thought?

Therefore when you fall asleep you cease to meet your definition of human life?
Tell me, how healthy are your liver and kidneys? What time do you usually nap?

Seriously, while I'm obviously being facetious here, this does go to the heart of the problem of defining human life.

Your attempt to characterize 'personhood' as requiring consciousness or thought is popular but inadequate as it excludes things like people in a coma, people in suspended animation, people undergoing certain types of surgery.

And blastocyst has pretty good odds of achieving consciousness, even if its not their yet. Is really just to terminate it seconds before it wakes up? Minutes? ... exactly how far before its ready to awaken is ok? And what makes that point in time special, but another point in time a few minutes later not ok?

For what its worth, I'm generally on your side. I agree there is a time between conception and birth where one shouldn't be a legal person, and that a blastocyst falls within that time frame; but I can't pin exactly when it ends, and person hood is achieved.

Shame (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579171)

It's a shame this became political, because the fact is that stem cells from sources that don't require the destruction of life have not been adequately studied, and actually HAVE produced successful treatments.

But, if the government slush funds are all going to be pointed at this for political reasons, I guess the embryo-farming will soon begin.

Re:Shame (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579419)

No one is forcing anyone to stop researching promising treatments based on adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are good at some things, and they have produced successful treatments. Since we've produced successful treatments with adult stem cells, it stands to reason that we can also produce successful treatments with embryonic stem cells. It would be wrong of us to ignore those treatments and allow people to suffer unnecessarily.

Let me also mention that ALL stem cell research requires the destruction of life. A stem cell, whether embryonic or adult, is alive.

Re:Shame (2, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580485)

Let me also mention that ALL stem cell research requires the destruction of life. A stem cell, whether embryonic or adult, is alive.

You are twisting the debate of the use of embryonic stem cells. It has nothing to do with objections over the destruction of the stem cells, it is how they are derived. All cells derived from humans are alive at some point, but the objection from many over using embryonic stem cells for research is the fact that they come from aborted people. As far as I'm concerned, that's what they are once they have a heartbeat. That fetus is then no longer just a fetus, but a human being. The debate to whether abortion is morally right is another argument for another time, but don't make this into an argument of whether using embryonic or adult stem cells are the same thing, because they are not. An adult willingly allows the use of their stem cells for research, whereas an unborn infant cannot make that decision.

Way to change the wording! (4, Informative)

cosmicaug (150534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579261)

Nice, how the wording got changed so that it says the opposite of what is conveyed by the CNN article!

Slashdot article says:

The stem cells come from the existing lines Pres. Bush approved federal funding for in August 2001.

The source article actually states:

The tests will use stem cells cultured from embryos left over in fertility clinics, which otherwise would have been discarded.

And thus:

Okarma said Geron did not use any federal funding for its research, and that the Bush restrictions had "devastated the field."

Re:Way to change the wording! (1)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579445)

0karma, that's about what this account is netting me...

Re:Way to change the wording! (2, Insightful)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579465)

Uhhh...maybe RTFA a bit more carefully? Cut and pasted from CNN:

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the trials, which will use human stem cells authorized for research by then-President George W. Bush in 2001.

Don't get me wrong--if you want mud to sling at the now-defunct Bush administration, the article provides plenty, but don't read selectively and accuse the editors of twisting words.

Re:Way to change the wording! (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579567)

I also liked the wording here

The first human embryonic stem cells were developed by Jamie Thomson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998.

It's true, the first human embryonic stem cells were made by Dr. Thomspon in 1998. Hard times for those of us born before 1998. We had to grow using animal embryonic stem cells. That's no way to make yourself.
... at least I thought it was funny.

Re:Way to change the wording! (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580515)

Jamie Thompson jumped into a time machine after making the stem cells, and traveled back to prehistoric times in order to establish the human race. I guess this answers the chicken versus the egg argument.

Re:Way to change the wording! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580733)

Id that like him being his own grandfather?

Re:Way to change the wording! (1)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579681)

From the article:

The tests could begin by summer, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of the Geron Corporation. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the trials, which will use human stem cells authorized for research by then-President George W. Bush in 2001

So the stem cells that will be used were definitely approved by Bush.

Okarma didn't use federal funding for his research but the quote you have from the /. summary is... get this... STRAIGHT FROM TFA! Read it yourself. 1st sentence 10th paragraph.

I am not a huge fan of Bush either but snipping bits and pieces from the article and then blatantly lying about it to make Bush look worse than he is is why neo-cons can demonize people like you.

MODS READ THE ARTICLE. THIS GUY IS WRONG. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579757)

If you RTFA the article clearly says what this guy says it doesn't.

Re:MODS READ THE ARTICLE. THIS GUY IS WRONG. (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580227)

RTFA? This is slashdot, right? Or did I take a wrong turn somewhere?

wrong (1)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579895)

HAHA. What are you talkin about man? Everything you said is just tryin to look for a reason to be pissed at Bush. The summary quotes the cnn article and you are just wrong. ROFLCOPTER.

You are an idiot [albinoblacksheep.com]

uh huh.. (1)

ForeverOrangeCat (1430461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579271)

And about damn time.

Speaking as a pro-life person here (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579429)

Why didn't the scientific community just buy access to the stem cells found in the amniotic sacs of the millions of live births that take place every year? You can't seriously argue that aborted tissue samples are needed when there is no shortage of women or hospitals that would be willing to sell the amniotic fluid from a healthy birth for scientific research.

I have never understood the controversy here since there are plenty of alternatives to taking it from healthy babies, aborted babies, etc.

Re:Speaking as a pro-life person here (3, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579803)

To put it simply, not all stem cells are created equal. It comes down to potency. By the time a baby is born, stem cells have done a lot of differentiating. They can only create a limited number of tissues. Still useful, but not as useful as early embryonic stem cells. For a quick description of the varying utility of stem cells, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell#Potency_definitions [wikipedia.org]

Re:Speaking as a pro-life person here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579909)

Gotta do something with the aborted babies.

Re:Speaking as a pro-life person here (1)

canuck08 (1421409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580059)

You bury them in the ground then they suffer in hell for eternity because they were never baptized.

Re:Speaking as a pro-life person here (1)

GSPride (763993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580087)

They do, in fact, use umbilical cords, and cord blood to harvest stem cells, for what it's worth.

Re:Speaking as a pro-life person here (0, Troll)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580349)

Because then the bleeding heart liberals wouldn't have anything to complain about, and a complacent liberal is a dead liberal.

At last - a rational president (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579437)

Good to see that you have a president who seems to act on the basis of reality rather than listening to the mumbo jumbo of the religious fantasists. It would be nice if we had something like that in the UK.

Re:At last - a rational president (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579949)

Good to see that you have a president who seems to act on the basis of reality rather than listening to the mumbo jumbo of the religious fantasists. It would be nice if we had something like that in the UK.

You do realize that Obama had zero to do with this story, don't you?
This study is getting approved now because now is when the people doing the study finished all of the necessary preliminary work to get approval. If they had finished the preliminary work six months sooner, it would have been approved six months sooner.

Re:At last - a rational president (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580327)

We traded in someone who takes advice from religious advisers for someone who takes advice from the ACLU and MoveOn.Org. I'd call that a sideways move at best.

400,000 Embryos Available (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579639)

There are over 400,000 frozen embryos [ivf.net] stored in IVF clinics around America that won't be used for pregnancies. Some of them won't be released by the people whose gametes were used to create them, some won't be in a condition usable for science. But there's a lot that could be used for science. They should be, immediately. Actual people with actual diseases are already waiting for the therapies that research will bring, and the line forming behind them lines up forever into the future.

Re:400,000 Embryos Available (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580291)

Not agreeing or disagreeing with what you said, but isn't it a bit presumptuous to assume that the research will bring the therapies, rather it might be more prudent to assume that the research may bring about therapies.

the whole stem cell argument will fade away (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579791)

scientists are discovering ways to make adult cells revert to stem cell status

here's a recent methodology:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107134633.htm [sciencedaily.com]

in the near future, there will be no need for stem cells, or rather, stem cells will be made from sources no moralist, medical ethicist, or religious dogmatist could possibly object to

what better way to solve an intransigent divide between science and religion than to make the issue moot?

now if only someone can come up with a methodology to make evolution look like "the word of god", and we're all good

niRgga (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26580233)

are 7000 Users
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>